noun, plural nau·ma·chi·ae [naw-mey-kee-ee] /nɔˈmeɪ kiˌi/, nau·ma·chi·as.

a mock sea fight, given as a spectacle among the ancient Romans.
a place for presenting such spectacles.

Origin of naumachia

1590–1600; < Latin: mock naval battle < Greek naumachía a sea fight, equivalent to naû(s) ship + mách(ē) battle, fight + -ia -ia Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for naumachia

Historical Examples of naumachia

  • After the Naumachia, the moon rose, and the Chinese lanterns were lighted.

  • In a naumachia given by Nero, there were sea-monsters swimming about in the artificial lake.

  • Sometimes the vast arena was flooded with water, and naumachia or sea-fights were exhibited.


    William Henry Withrow

  • The main street itself was in many parts filled completely, and around the Naumachia Augusta great heaps were piled up.

    Quo Vadis

    Henryk Sienkiewicz

  • Another form of the spectacle for the entertainment of the Roman public was the naumachia, or naval battle.

    The Historical Child

    Oscar Chrisman

British Dictionary definitions for naumachia


naumachy (ˈnɔːməkɪ)

noun plural -chiae (-kɪˌiː), -chias or -chies (in ancient Rome)

a mock sea fight performed as an entertainment
an artificial lake used in such a spectacle

Word Origin for naumachia

C16: via Latin from Greek naumakhia, from naus ship + makhē battle
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012